/ 3 April 2010

Maputo blast an ‘assassination attempt’

A bomb blast near the South African Airways office in Maputo was aimed at the wife and children of a Pakistani businessman, independent Mozambican media reported on Friday.

An SAA security company told weekly newspaper Savana that the blast on Tuesday occurred a few minutes after the wife of businessman Syed Manzar Abbas returned home from fetching their children from school.

Three people were seriously injured in the explosion and three cars were damaged, including Abbas’ Mercedes-Benz A200. The windows of surrounding buildings were shattered.

Trail of death
The bomb was planted on a motorbike and timed to explode at 2pm, when Abbas’ wife usually fetched her children, but went off ten minutes early, the newspaper reported.

It claimed the assassination was masterminded by a Pakistan-based rival group to settle accounts with Abbas.

A business partner of Abbas, Mohammad Jawed, was fatally shot eight times in the chest outside a Maputo restaurant in 2004 after dining with a friend, the newspaper reported.

Another partner, only known as Baboo, was shot dead in Karachi, Pakistan, five months earlier.

Abbas, Jawed and Baboo were all involved in the company J&B Recordings.

The modus operandi of the previous killings also suggested account settling by rival groups, according to the newspaper.

Police arrested a Mozambican man on Thursday in connection with the blast.

They have remained tight-lipped about the case, neither confirming nor denying the possibility of an assassination attempt.

“Investigations up to now do not suggest a hypothesis of a bomb attack,” the police commander-general’s spokesperson Pedro Cossain
told independent newspaper O País.

However, criminal investigation services experts and the Mozambican armed forces found on the scene fragments of a device which may have been detonated by cellphone, the state-controlled
newspaper Notícias reported. – Sapa